The zero-emission e-NV200 van Nissan will build at its plant in Barcelona, Spain will incorporate key features of the Leaf hatchback, made at its Sunderland, UK plant.
The small commercial vehicle will be the Japanese firm’s second all-electric model and will use the Leaf’s drivetrain and be powered by lithium-ion battery cells made at Sunderland.
Over 13,000 Leafs have been built at Nissan's North-East plant since UK Prime Minister David Cameron formally set the production line rolling in March last year.
The company is investing £420 million to equip the factory to produce up to 50,000 of the electric cars every year, employing 560 workers.
Jean-Pierre Diernaz, Nissan Europe’s director of electric vehicles, claims the van will prove important as cities adapt to emissions changes.
“Europe's cities are introducing ever stringent restrictions on emissions,” said Diermaz. “London already has a congestion charge zone based on emissions while the city's mayor is preparing for the introduction of an ultra-low emission zone by 2020.”
“As the growth in Leaf sales already proves, this is the time of the zero-emission vehicle,” he said, adding, “The e-NV200 takes us into a completely different market and will help cement our position as the global leader in electric vehicle technology.”
In March, Nissan’s UK Leaf sales reached 630 units. The figure was nearly double the 332 models it sold in September, and 155 per cent higher than the 247 Leafs it sold in March last year.
Nissan has also made a special edition Leaf to celebrate 100,000 global sales and the vehicle is a major success in Norway, becoming the country's third-most sold passenger car.
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